AC 22 (natural armor)
HP 367 (21d20 + 147; 183)
Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft., swim 40 ft.
Proficiency +7; Maneuver DC 23
Saving Throws Dex +9, Con +14, Wis +9, Cha +11
Skills History +10, Perception +9 (+1d6), Stealth +9
Damage Immunities acid
Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 22
Languages Common, Draconic, one more
Ambusher. When submerged in water, the dragon has on Stealth checks. If the dragon hits a creature that can’t see it with its bite, it can deal piercing damage and grapple the target simultaneously.
Amphibious. The dragon can breathe air and water.
Legendary Resistance (3/Day). When the dragon fails a , it can choose to succeed instead. When it does, it sheds some of its scales, which turn to mud. If it has no more uses of this ability, its Armor Class is reduced to 20 until it finishes a long rest.
Ruthless (1/Round). After scoring a critical hit on its turn, the dragon can immediately make one claw attack.
Innate Spellcasting. The dragon’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (save DC 19). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components.
3/day each: , , ,
1/day each: ,
Multiattack. The dragon attacks once with its bite and twice with its claws. In place of its bite attack, it can use Acid Spit.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 30 (4d10 + 8) piercing damage plus 9 (2d8) acid damage. Instead of dealing piercing damage, the dragon can the target (escape DC 23), and a Huge or smaller creature in this way is . While grappling a creature, the dragon can’t bite or use Acid Spit against another target.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d8 + 8) slashing damage.
Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d8 + 8) bludgeoning damage, and the dragon pushes the target 10 feet away.
Acid Spit. The dragon targets a creature within 60 feet, forcing it to make a DC 22 Dexterity . The creature takes 22 (4d10) acid damage on a failure or half damage on a success. A creature that fails the save also takes 11 (2d10) ongoing acid damage. A creature can use an action to end the ongoing damage.
Acid Breath (Recharge 5–6). The dragon exhales sizzling acid in a 90-foot-long, 10-foot-wide line. Each creature in that area makes a DC 22 Dexterity , taking 85 (19d8) acid damage on a failed save or half damage on a success. A creature that fails the save is until the end of its next turn.
Tail Attack. When a creature the dragon can see within 10 feet hits the dragon with a melee attack, the dragon makes a tail attack against it.
The dragon can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. It regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Darkness. The dragon creates a 40-foot-radius sphere of magical darkness originating from a point it can see within 120 feet. Darkvision can’t penetrate this darkness. The darkness lasts for 1 minute or until the dragon uses this action again.
Roar. Each creature of the dragon’s choice within 120 feet that can hear it makes a DC 19 Charisma . On a failure, it is for 1 minute. A creature repeats the saving throw at the end of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. When it succeeds on a saving throw or the effect ends for it, it is immune to Roar for 24 hours.
Wing Attack. The dragon beats its wings. Each creature within 15 feet makes a DC 22 Dexterity . On a failure, it is pushed 10 feet away and knocked . The dragon can then fly up to half its fly speed.
While individual dragons have their own personalities and tactics, most rely heavily on their breath weapons. They use them whenever they can, preferably from maximum distance and while flying above their enemies.
When fighting in the open, dragons often circle above their enemies as they wait for their breath weapons to recharge. They only close to melee if their enemies deal significant damage with ranged attacks, or if they can savage an enemy cut off from its allies. Once, dragons become more aggressive, attacking with bite and claws when their breath weapons aren’t available.
If a dragon is protecting its lair, it utilizes lair features, traps, allies, and architecture such as escape tunnels to keep up a hit-and-run fight, reappearing only when it has a fully-recharged breath weapon. If the dragon is forced into melee combat, it uses its bite and claws against a single foe. If it has legendary actions like Roar and Wing Attack, it uses them to disperse its other enemies.
If reduced to less than one-fourth its hit points while fighting in the open, a dragon flies away. However, it fights to the death to defend its lair, unless it can regain the upper hand through tricks or bargains.
Black Dragon Lair Features
The save DC for the following effects is 13 + the dragon’s proficiency bonus. Choose or roll one or more of the following lair features:
1 A successful Perception check reveals a hidden tunnel. If possible, the dragon snaps someone up in its jaws and squeezes through the tunnel.
2 The lair contains craters filled with bubbling acid. Once per turn, the dragon can use a legendary action to dunk a grappled creature into the acid. The creature takes acid damage equal to one-half the dragon’s breath weapon damage.
3 Murky pools connect to the surrounding bog via underwater tunnels.
4 Creatures other than the black dragon gain no benefit from darkvision within the lair. The dragon can make a creature immune to this effect by ritualistically scarring it with acid.
Algarath, Azoth, Ebonflame, Exatharis, Bitterbite, Sear
Legends and Lore
With an Arcana or History check, characters can learn the following:
DC 10 Black dragons make their lairs in swamps and among the ruins of ancient empires.
DC 15 Black dragons spit acid, and the oldest among them can surround themselves with magical darkness.
DC 20 Obsessed with death, black dragons sometimes extend their existences through an arcane ritual that turns them into liches.
With a death's-head face and black wings like a tattered cloak, a black dragon somewhat resembles the humanoid personification of death. Dwelling in rotting swamps among fallen and forgotten monuments, a black dragon revels in terror and decay.
Cruel Ambushers. Black dragons are equally at home high in the night sky or hiding beneath the murky waters of their swamp lairs. They can surround themselves with magical pools of inky shadow. With many ways to hide from prey, black dragons are deadly ambush hunters. Most black dragons relish the fear of their quarry and draw out their hunts as long as possible. Sometimes they grant wounded prey temporary respite, allowing the illusion of escape before plunging their quarry into darkness and terror.
Ancient Monuments. Black dragons are both attracted to—and the cause of—decay and ruin. They often lair within the palaces of fallen kingdoms, especially those they helped topple. But even long-buried peoples still seem alive to the black dragon. It holds ancient rivals in a mixture of contempt and reverence, and often gloats over the dead it has drowned. Collectors and students of ancient relics and treasure, black dragons are eager to share their knowledge about ancient mysteries—though the questioner may not long survive the answer.
Life Beyond Death. With their fixation on time and mortality, black dragons are the most common dragon liches. If personal undeath is beyond a black dragon’s arcane power, it may seek to bolster its physical defenses by creating armies of undead servants.
1 Sleeping underwater
2 Ranting about the weaklings it has destroyed
3 Hiding in ambush
4 Vandalizing ancient architecture
5 Hiding a portion of its treasure in a secondary lair, just in case; it tries to destroy witnesses
6 Flying overhead, hunting
1 Sucking mire; after each hour of travel, succeed on a DC 12 Constitution or gain a level of
2 Fouled, poisoned water
3 Low mist obscuring dangerous bogs and other hazards
4 A draconic footprint filled with steaming liquid
5 Fallen towers half-buried in mud: scalding black smoke suddenly jets from a window
6 A toppled royal statue; a crude dragon statue sits in its place atop an empty pedestal
Black dragons live in rotting swamps, lairing among ruins and toppled monuments.
CR 3–4 with 1d4 (see ), , or
Treasure 300 gp, 500 sp, 4 sardonyx gemstones (50 gp each), exquisite marble throne (worth 200 gp but bulky), , leaden helm (acts as )
CR 5–10 ; with 1d4 , , or ; with 1 or 2 , , or
Treasure 1,200 gp, 3,000 sp, 2 adamantine-bladed battleaxes (500 gp each), 3 , +1 (named Immortal; the haft is topped with a gold crown)
CR 11–16 with , , , or
Treasure 2,000 gp, 5,000 sp, ceremonial gold full plate armor with crowned helm (2,500 gp), , , +2 (the wearer can breathe water)
CR 17–22 ; ; with 2 , , , or
Treasure 8,000 gp, 4,000 ep, iron crown set with 25 jet gemstones (100 gp each gemstone), 50 scrolls of lost history and literature (100 gp each), 3 , of and ,
CR 23–30 ancient black dragon; ancient black dragon with , , , or ; ancient black dragon with 2d4 , , or ; with 1d6 + 4 and or
Treasure 15,000 gp, miniature replica of city featuring a 3-foot-tall electrum obelisk (5,000 gp), black dragon egg (25,000 gp), , 2 , ,
CR 31+ ; ancient black dragon with 3 or and 10 or 20 or ; 2
Treasure 100,000 gp, 2 gem-studded gold crowns (25,000 gp each), 10 pieces of miscellaneous jewelry (2,500 gp each), huge stone calendar that predicts a future catastrophe, 3 , ,
Dragons include red and gold dragons, which are huge reptilian fire-breathers that number among the world’s most dangerous monsters. This type includes, which breathe killing frost, as well as smaller reptilian creatures related to true dragons, such as .